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EDA Partners With Jobs for the Future to Launch Good Jobs Challenge Community of Practice

Craig Buerstatte, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs

On August 3, 2022, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced its award of a $4.6 million grant to Jobs for the Future (JFF) to coordinate and lead a national Community of Practice (CoP) dedicated to sharing best practices, providing technical assistance, and extending professional networks among the $500 million Good Jobs Challenge’s grantee organizations announced earlier on August 3.

In managing the CoP, JFF will foster collaboration among grantees to increase and strengthen networks to fortify the connection between workforce and economic development professionals; provide access to subject matter experts, coaching and technical assistance to individual awardees on building workforce systems and sector strategies; curate a regular cadence of data-sharing workshops; coordinate with grantees on the development of program impact measurement methods; and convene quarterly and annual convenings among grantee organizations to enhance interorganizational networking and to share field-informed innovation. JFF will also ensure resources developed as part of the CoP are made available to the greater community of workforce and economic development stakeholders, including employers, workforce development boards, community-based organizations, community colleges, Economic Development Districts, and local governments.

Equity will be a core tenet of the Good Jobs Challenge CoP. JFF's services will focus on the amplification of diverse voices and leaders; assist grantees in the identification and removal of systemic barriers individuals face in accessing training and jobs; and provide support in outreach to underserved populations and in disaggregating job seeker outcomes by race, ethnicity, gender, and age.

“The Good Jobs Challenge helps fulfil EDA’s mission to lead the federal economic development agenda and recognizes that workforce development is a critical pillar of locally-led, innovative and competitive economic development,” explained Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “The Community of Practice expands on this objective by working closely with our 32 diverse awardees on equitable talent development strategies, engaging employers as partners, and building integrated, holistic local systems that lead to strong job outcomes and regional economic growth.”

JFF is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to driving transformation of the American workforce and education systems to achieve equitable economic advancement. Founded in 1983 and based in Boston, Massachusetts, JFF operates in more than 40 states and works at the national, state, and local levels to facilitate collaboration among educators, employers, workforce development specialists, workers, communities, and policymakers.

“The Good Jobs Challenge links workforce development and economic development by connecting local leaders with a diverse set of partners to generate new ways to equitably grow regional economies,” said Maria Flynn, President and CEO of JFF. “In establishing a Community of Practice, JFF will support grantees as they build and implement customized solutions to address the specific talent needs of their communities while ensuring knowledge sharing and development of best practices based on what works elsewhere.”

EDA’s $500 million Good Jobs Challenge is a cornerstone of its American Rescue Plan programs. Through the Good Jobs Challenge, EDA is supporting innovative approaches to seed and scale 32 industry-led sector partnerships across the country. With a focus on job quality and equity, awardees will provide tangible opportunity and security for American workers — particularly people of color, women of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, and workers from historically underserved communities — and connect employers with the trained workforce they need to grow and remain competitive.

Work on the Good Jobs Challenge Community of Practice will begin immediately with EDA grant funding supporting a four-year period of performance through June 2026. For more information on EDA’s Communities of Practice, visit eda.gov/communities.

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